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Emotional distraction in working memory: Bayesian-based evidence of the equivalent effect of positive and neutral interference

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2020-11-03
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Taylor & Francis
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Evidence has shown that negative distracting stimuli are most difficult to control when we are focused in a relevant task, while positive and neutral distractors might be equally overcome. Still, recent meta-analytic evidence has pointed out that differences in the ability to cope with positive or neutral distractors may be difficult to detect in healthy people and in laboratory sets. Here we re-analyse memory performance in four already published working memory experiments in which affective and non-affective distractors were used. We focused on the positive versus neutral contrast, which did not reveal differences in the original analysis, with the aim of quantifying evidence for the null hypothesis using a Bayesian approach. Bayes factor (BF) estimates show substantial evidence in favour to the absence of differences in three out of four datasets. Further, BF aggregated from the four studies shows stronger evidence for the null hypothesis. Results from this analysis show that WM performance after positive and neutral interference can be considered equivalent, suggesting that positive distractors can be overcome to the same extent as neutral ones.
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Pacios, J., Caperos, J. M., del Río, D., & Maestú, F. (2021). Emotional distraction in working memory: Bayesian-based evidence of the equivalent effect of positive and neutral interference. Cognition & emotion, 35(2), 282–290. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2020.1839382.
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